The Battle of Badr:  The Reasons

The Battle of Badr: The Reasons

News reached the Muslims about a very large Makkan trading caravan that was headed northwards towards Ash-Sham loaded with a large quantity of wealth and merchandise.

News reached the Muslims about a very large Makkan trading caravan that was headed northwards towards Ash-Sham loaded with a large quantity of wealth and merchandise.

By Dr. `Ali Al-Salabi

News reached the Muslims about a very large Makkan trading caravan that was headed northwards towards Ash-Sham (Syria and surrounding regions) and that was travelling with a large quantity of wealth and merchandise. The caravan was headed by Abu Sufyan and was guarded by thirty-four men. Seeing an opportunity of getting back at least part of what the Quraish had stolen from the Muslims, the Prophet (peace be upon him) sent a man named Basbas ibn `Amr to gather information about the caravan. When Basbas returned with sure news of the caravan, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) exhorted his Companions to accompany him in order to go out and overtake the caravan. He said to them, “This is the caravan of the Quraish (coming), and in it is their wealth, so go out to it, and perhaps Allah will grant it to you as booty.” (Muslim) The Prophet then left Al-Madinah on the twelfth of Ramadan, in the year 2 AH.

The Muslims of Al-Madinah and the polytheists of Makkah were in a state of war. Muslims knew that the wealth that the Quraish men were carrying with them towards Ash-Sham was wealth that belonged to Muhajirun (migrant) Muslims. I should note that when the Muslims of Makkah left to migrate to Al-Madinah, they left, for the most part, in a hurry, afraid of being captured by Quraish to be returned to Makkah, and then tortured for trying to escape. And so the vast majority of them left their wealth behind in Makkah, and even if some of them took part of their wealth with them, they could not take along their properties and houses.

What the Quraish then did was truly vile and reprehensible: they wrongly seized all of the wealth that the Muslims left behind, claiming it for themselves. So it was not just a matter of war – which it partly was – but it was also a matter of getting back some of the wealth that was unjustly taken away from the Muhajirun (Muslim migrants).

When he set out for Badr, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) charged `Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum with the duty of leading Muslims in prayer in Al-Madinah during his absence. Later on during the expedition, when he (peace be upon him) had reached Ar-Rauha, the Prophet sent Abu Lubabah  back to Al-Madinah, appointing him as its temporary governor.  The Prophet also sent two of his Companions ahead to act as scouts and to bring back news about the caravan; they went and later returned, informing the Prophet (peace be upon him) about what they saw.

As for the Prophet’s army, even authentic sources differ slightly over the number of Companions that accompanied the Prophet on his expedition to Badr. Imam Al-Bukhari mentioned that they were three hundred and Bid`a (Bid`a means any number from three to ten, so it is a word used to express an approximation) men; Imam Muslim was more explicit, saying that they were three-hundred and nineteen men. Meanwhile, other sources mentioned the names of three-hundred and forty Companions that participated in the Battle of Badr.

The Muslim contingent that was headed for Badr in no way represented the full military potential of Al-Madinah. Many Muslims remained behind in Al-Madinah, since the purpose of the expedition was only to confront and overtake the Makkan trading caravan that was headed by Abu Sufyan. The Muslims did not know that the expedition was going to end in a full-scale battle against the army of the Quraish, which consisted of one-thousand fighters, two-hundred horses that rode alongside their camels, and even female singers that accompanied the soldiers in order to give them encouragement and to sing songs in which they satirized the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them). Meanwhile, the Muslims had with them only two horses and only seventy camels, a shortage that made it necessary for them to take turns riding the camels on their way to Badr.

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Source: Taken with modifications from the author’s “The Noble Life of the Prophet Muhammad”.

See also:

The Battle of Badr: The First Decisive Battle in the History of Islam

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The Battle of Badr: When You Asked Allah for Help

The Battle of Badr: When You Asked Allah for Help

By Editorial Staff
Battle of Badr

Is it reasonable that poorly equipped 300 soldiers could snatch an impressive victory over a huge well prepared and equipped army?

The Battle of Badr, which was set out under the God’s arrangements and direction, was a criterion between the right and falsehood. It signified obvious manifestation and affirmation on the constant relationship between the realm of the heavens and the realm of the earth. The interrelation between the turn of events, the troops and munitions of both teams, and the time and place, and finally the results of the battle are amazingly miraculous. Is it reasonable that so poorly equipped 300 soldiers could snatch an impressive victory over a huge well prepared and equipped army? They did not make their full preparations because they did not initially rush out for fight but they went out with the aim of seizing a commercial convoy in return for their lost properties in Makkah after migration. However, their truthfulness, steadfastness and sincerity were the key factors for victory.

When the news came to disbelievers of Quraish about Muslims plans to seize the caravan, they mobilized a big army, which tripled the number of the Muslims army, fully equipped and supplied to crush Muslims and put an end to the Islamic existence. The convoy’s leader, Abu Sufian, could flee away with the caravan and arrived safely at Makkah. However, the Quraish’s army leader, Abu Jahl, swore that they must confront Muslims and teach them a lesson they never forget. When the battle flared up, Muslims stood firmly and sacrificed themselves in support of God and His religion, and thus the help of Allah was in their service. They did not run away or shrink in fears but they stood as lions defending Allah and His Messenger. The Qur’an described them with the verse,

Among the believers are men true to what they promised Allah . Among them is he who has fulfilled his vow [to the death], and among them is he who awaits [his chance]. And they did not alter [the terms of their commitment] by any alteration. * That Allah may reward the truthful for their truth and punish the hypocrites if He wills or accept their repentance. Indeed, Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful. (Al-Ahzab 33:23-24)

As the reward for doing good must be good, Almighty Allah supported them, sent down His Angels fighting in their side and made them victorious upon their enemy. We will review some of the facts of God’s support of Muslims in the battle of Badr in the following points:

Supporting the believers with the Angels

Allah (Glory be to Him) sent down the angels defending the believers and fighting in their side against the disbelievers. The Qur’an recorded this in the verse which reads:

And already had Allah given you victory at [the battle of] Badr while you were few in number. Then fear Allah ; perhaps you will be grateful. * [Remember] when you said to the believers, “Is it not sufficient for you that your Lord should reinforce you with three thousand angels sent down? * Yes, if you remain patient and conscious of Allah and the enemy come upon you [attacking] in rage, your Lord will reinforce you with five thousand angels having marks [of distinction] * And Allah made it not except as [a sign of] good tidings for you and to reassure your hearts thereby. And victory is not except from Allah , the Exalted in Might, the Wise. (Aal `Imran 3:123-126)

We have another quote from the Sunnah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw Jibril (peace be upon him) on the day of Badr equipped with arms. Ibn `Abbas narrated, “The Prophet (peace be upon him) said on the day (of the battle) of Badr, “This is Gabriel holding the head of his horse and equipped with arms for the battle.” (Al-Bukhari) The angels engaged in the battlefield and fought the disbelievers and killed many of them.

Ibn `Abbas said: While on that day a Muslim was chasing a disbeliever who was going ahead of him, he heard over him the swishing of the whip and the voice of the rider saying: Go ahead, Haizum! He glanced at the polytheist who had (now) fallen down on his back. When he looked at him (carefully he found that) there was a scar on his nose and his face was torn as if it had been lashed with a whip, and had turned green with its poison. An Ansari came to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and related this (event) to him. He said: You have told the truth. This was the help from the third heaven. (Muslim)

Terror for the disbelievers and security for the believers

Allah (Glory be to Him) casted terror into the hearts of the disbelievers so that joined the battle psychologically defeated and destroyed. The Qur’an says,

[Remember] when your Lord inspired to the angels, “I am with you, so strengthen those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike [them] upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip.” (Al-Anfal 8:12)

This immaterial weapon left a striking impact in the course of the war and turned the table for the benefit of Muslims. Jabir ibn `Abdullah (peace be upon him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “I have been given five things which were not given to anyone else before me. Allah made me victorious by awe (of frightening my enemies) for a distance of one month’s journey…” (Muslim)

The above verse also indicates that Allah put security and firm will in the hearts of Muslims and reinforced their determination and power. Also, Allah stated that Angels were driven into the battle to reassure the hearts of Muslims. He says,

And Allah made it not except as [a sign of] good tidings for you and to reassure your hearts thereby. And victory is not except from Allah , the Exalted in Might, the Wise. (Aal `Imran 3:126)

Alter of the eye view and dream

Almighty Allah relates to us that He assisted the Muslims in the battle of Badr by showing them the number of disbelievers fewer than they were. They saw the disbelievers, who have tripled their number, as of small number of soldiers. The same happened with the disbelievers who viewed Muslims of a smaller number than they are in fact, taking into consideration that the number of Muslims was already small. This was strikingly beneficial for Muslims as it strengthened their will and psychological powers, so they engaged in the battle with brave hearts and fearless souls. On the other side, the disbelievers became haughty and conceited, made little of Muslims and underestimated their powers to be astonished with the attacks of Muslims which cracked their rows and weakened them by inflicting wounds. Almighty Allah talked about this in the Qur’an as He says,

[Remember, O Muhammad], when Allah showed them to you in your dream as few; and if He had shown them to you as many, you [believers] would have lost courage and would have disputed in the matter [of whether to fight], but Allah saved [you from that]. Indeed, He is Knowing of that within the breasts. * And [remember] when He showed them to you, when you met, as few in your eyes, and He made you [appear] as few in their eyes so that Allah might accomplish a matter already destined. And to Allah are [all] matters returned. (Al-Anfal 8:43-44)

Sleeping and rain

Sleeping and rain are among the soldiers of God by which Allah assisted Muslims during the battle of Badr. Muslims had some fears before the commencement of the battle owing to the lack of their preparations and military equipment. Almighty Allah made them sleep a little so that they lost most of their fears and became relaxed before the battle started. However, some of them had wet dreams and became ritually impure and thus they needed water. Moreover, the disbelievers of Quraish have arrived early to Badr and captured and destroyed most of the water wells there. Muslims became very thirsty and needed for water. It was the care of Allah with them that He sent down rain to them so that they became pure, active, watered and also the earth underneath them became better prepared for moving and going than the sandy earth underneath the disbelievers. The Qur’an pictures this event in Allah’s saying,

[Remember] when He overwhelmed you with drowsiness [giving] security from Him and sent down upon you from the sky, rain by which to purify you and remove from you the evil [suggestions] of Satan and to make steadfast your hearts and plant firmly thereby your feet. [Remember] when your Lord inspired to the angels, “I am with you, so strengthen those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike [them] upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip.” That is because they opposed Allah and His Messenger. And whoever opposes Allah and His Messenger – indeed, Allah is severe in penalty. (Al-Anfal 8:11-13)

Small stones

It is narrated that when the fight commenced and blared up, the Messenger of Allah picked up a handful of dust from the ground, threw it into the enemy’s faces and said: “May these faces be deformed.”  There was no one among the enemy whose eyes were not filled with the dust from this handful. So, they turned back fleeing. Allah the Exalted and Glorious defeated them at the hands of Muslims. Therefore, Almighty Allah said in the Qur’an,

And you did not kill them, but it was Allah who killed them. And you threw not, [O Muhammad], when you threw, but it was Allah who threw that He might test the believers with a good test. Indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing. (Al-Anfal 8:17)

These were some of the manifestations of Allah’s assistance to Muslims during the battle of Badr, when they sincerely resorted to him for help. It is the support of God that comes from where one does not know. This help is eternal and endless and will continue for the favor of Muslims if they come to Allah sincerely and make use of the factual reasons of victory. Allah will make them victorious over their enemy if they made every effort to be triumphant and supplicated Him. We need to learn lessons from this battle and have full trust on Allah the All-Helper and Provider. In this context, one remembers the verses that read,

And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out. * And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent. (At-Talaq 65:2-3)

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